Tips to Boost Your Business Analysis Career
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From landing your dream job to upskilling, IIBA’s list of 2021 Influencers share their insights on where business analysis is heading this year and the skills you need to stay competitive.
#1: Things You Should Know Before Pursuing A Career in Business Analysis
Communication is an often-overlooked key business analysis career success factor says Esta Lessing, CBAP, from Business Analysis Excellence Pty Ltd. Esta is a trainer, practitioner and author who believes communication skills are one of the most important skills you should master before pursuing your business analysis career. Communication ultimately consists of conversations and conversation has three stages: Stage 1: The lead up. Build rapport and goodwill even for just a few seconds. Stage 2: The essence. Find the common purpose or desired result of each conversation, great or small. Stage 3: The close. Agree on the actions and next steps to maximise value. ”When you learn to break down conversations and focus on each stage of the conversation with the intent to maximise its value, you will become an outstanding communicator and be a Business Analyst that stands out from the crowd!” notes Esta.
#2: 7 Steps to a Successful Business Analysis Career
2020 was a rollercoaster year and in some parts of the world things are getting back to normal. It may come as a surprise, but hiring didn’t really pause for all roles even in the midst of a pandemic. Fortunately for business analysis professionals companies are anxiously looking for skilled Business Analysts who can help them pivot their businesses during this global pandemic. So how can you stand out in 2021? Eno Eka, CEO and Founder of Eny Consulting Inc, a global consulting and coaching firm in Alberta, shares her 7 steps to success: Mindset, Experience, Knowledge, Skills, Certifications, Coaching & Mentorship, and Continuous Improvement. “Remember that you are a solution provider," says Eno, emphasizing the importance of asking pertinent questions. A good business analyst will always ask ‘WHY’. Use tools such as your core concept model to guide you as you deliver more value in 2021. You got this!
#3 Traits of a Successful Business Analyst
With a positive can-do attitude Jeremy Aschenbrenner, Chief Instructor at The BA Guide, can break down seemingly impossible challenges into components that can be solved. Is he a superhero? Maybe... after all, he is a business analyst! Even though business analysis as a profession has a broad range of tasks and responsibilities and there are many different career paths, Jeremy finds the most successful Business Analysts often share some common traits. These include: • Curiosity – An eagerness to learn more and gain a better understanding • Honesty – A high value for integrity and truthfulness, sincere • Enthusiasm – An active interest in the topic and willingness to give maximum effort • Collaboration – Effectively communicates with others and works towards a common goal • Resourcefulness – Uses available tools and experiences to analyze information to make informed recommendations, finds clever ways to overcome problems and challenges. “While there are likely hundreds of traits leveraged by Business Analysts, I think these five are the foundation: curiosity, honesty, enthusiasm, collaboration, and resourcefulness,” says Jeremy. You can learn more about Jeremy’s career path to becoming a Business Analyst on YouTube.
#4 Social Media, Business Analysis & Trends
Dr Michael White, Founder and CEO of The Business Analysis Doctor sees the power social media has in enabling business analysis advocates to highlight the Business Analyst role and present business analysis concepts to a much broader audience. Social media has led to two key trends in the business analysis profession. First, we’ve seen an influx of individuals interested in the business analysis career path prior to graduating college, which inherently increases the number of candidates seeking Business Analysis internships and entry-level roles. This is a result of being inspired by the breadth of business analysis related content they’ve been exposed to on social media. The second trend is learning business analysis best practices at a faster pace due to the availability of educational content on social media platforms. Now, candidates are more proactive at gaining the competencies needed to advance their business analysis career. “This is why I enjoy using social media as an engine to empower the business analysis community and develop healthy business analysis practices!” says Michael. Another benefit of elevating the practice is having everyone speak the same foundational business analysis terminology that follows industry-wide best practices found in the Core Standard.
#5 Data & Business Analysis
Business Analysts are a fundamental bridge between a business need and the technical solution. “They translate messy ideas into implementable rules and requirements. This means that Business Analysts are becoming increasingly proficient in data, which is the basic language that links the two disciplines,” says Vanessa Lam a data culture and business intelligence professional who has returned to university to pursue her Masters in Computer and Information Technology. Vanessa sees furthering that link by setting a strong data culture is an important trend in Business Analysis. What does this look like? It involves ensuring people across the organization are comfortable with data, they all use the same vocabulary, and there is strong trust in insights found from data. Business Analysts sit at this ever more important juncture, where they can influence the data culture across business and technical people alike, improving alignment and decision-making in the long term.
#6: Business Analysts & Time Sensitive Projects
As my boss always says, “it all starts with requirements.” No project big or small will stand much chance of putting a smile on the owner’s face if the fundamental business problem, the expectations, the people who will use it, etc. haven’t been duly considered,” says Kevin Crampton, Business Analyst for the World Health Organization’s IT department supporting the health emergency program and currently working on the COVID-19 response across multiple project streams. “I have the very great honour to work for the World Health Organisation, a particularly challenging role at the moment given the unprecedented challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve needed to spin up a lot of urgent projects with challenging timelines and the role of the business analyst has, I think, become more and more valued to ensure that these projects plan, execute and close in the best way possible,” adds Kevin. Working at the WHO is a particularly challenging role given the unprecedented challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic but one that Kevin thoroughly enjoys! One challenge during the pandemic has been how to perform elicitation without in-person conversations. In a remote environment the use of visual models and context-based conversations have become the best approaches.
#7 Importance of A Business Analyst to a Time-Sensitive Project
Project Management is foundational to the success of any project. It’s about delivering an end product on time and within budget. Quite often we attribute a project’s success to the Project Manager, who tends to be front and centre. Adrielle Houweling, a Business Analyst for the Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics (C3G) at McGill University and Calcul Québec, and a volunteer Business Analyst with COVID-19 Resources Canada explains this using the helpful analogy of a rowboat. In this scenario the Project Manager stands at the bow directing project stakeholders to row towards a specific landmark. They will reach their destination so long as everyone understands and agrees to the Project Manager’s directives. When more project stakeholders are added and the mission itself becomes time-sensitive, those directives may not be enough to guide them forward. Enter the Business Analyst; our focus is to clarify processes, identify requirements and find solutions, all the while employing the 3 Cs of Business Analysis: Curiosity, Communication and Connecting the Dots. This role is important, and even more so for time-sensitive and large-scale projects. Consider our rowboat example once more. As Business Analysis professionals we work closely with the Project Manager and project stakeholders to ensure the rowboat stays afloat, and follows the best course, to reach its destination.
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